The Thin Line between Love and Hate
A Pride and Prejudice- story
Summary: A modern P&P with a Shakespearean twist. He said she wasn't pretty enough and she threw punch at him. After 12 years Darcy is back in Meryton and Lizzie still hasn't forgiven him.
Disclaimer: I do not claim to be Jane Austen and most definitely not Shakespeare. I just borrow their work as an inspiration to this story, loosely basing it on Pride and prejudice and Much Ado about Nothing.
Chapter 1: The Boys are Back in Town
Their fragile friendship began when William Darcy welcomed Elizabeth Bennet to primary school by tugging on her pony tails on first recess. Elizabeth repaid the courtesy by slapping his face. Needless to say they did not see eye to eye on much. Elizabeth and William had been known for their constant quarrelling and hardly a day had gone by without either one of them ending up crying because the other had been too rough on the other.
They had been considered quite good friends throughout their school years and everybody thought that the playful quarrels would turn into love at some point, but that didn't happen. The main reason was perhaps because William was dating every other girl in school but Elizabeth, or perhaps they really didn't fancy each other.
But why did not Elizabeth Bennet like William Darcy when it was clear that every other girl in school adored him and would do anything for a date with him? Well, the answer was quite simple. He was constantly bugging her and because he was older and therefore, and at least according to him, always right and had to win every single argument. But the reason why she ended their so called friendship was because of something she accidentally heard him say to friend.
"She's ok I suppose, but not pretty enough to tempt me," William had said to a friend at his 16th birthday party when asked why he had not dated Elizabeth. Those words were very hurtful to a young lady of 14's fragile self esteem. It was not that she wanted to date him. She just wanted the pleasure of seeing his face when she turned him down. She poured her drink over him, left and had been avoiding him ever since. Was she forced to speak to him she did it with a high dosage of disdain. She had not even been to his farewell party two years later.
After graduating William Darcy and his family had moved overseas to expand the family business and had been gone and forgotten for ten years at least. One would think that the quarrels of the past are long forgotten and forgiven, but that is seldom the case…
"Guess who's back in town," said Jane Bennet as she called her sister one fine Wednesday in May. Elizabeth rummaged her brain in search for a suitable response. Who was back in town? Who had been gone? She knew of no one that had been out of town.
"William Darcy is back, Lizzie!" Jane almost squealed as she said the name. Elizabeth frowned. She really couldn't care less.
"So?" she said with a nonchalant tone.
"What do you mean 'so', Lizzie?" Jane sounded surprised. "You used to be friends if I remember correctly."
"I wouldn't call us friends, Jane," Elizabeth corrected her. "He was constantly bugging me!" Elizabeth sometimes missed her and William's mindless banter, but that was mostly because she had not found anyone equally worthy as her opponent. Anyways, William had annoyed her immensely.
"Only because he was in love with you," Jane said.
"He was not," Elizabeth said with an indignant tone in her voice. "If he was, he had a very funny way of showing it. Like dating every other girl in the school apart from me." And calling me not pretty enough, she silently added. Her sister laughed on the other side of the line.
"Jealous, me? Don't make me laugh!" Elizabeth let something out that was supposed to sound like a laugh.
"Seriously, you were the only one who didn't see it. I bet he was just trying to make you jealous enough to ask him out."
"Yeah, right," Elizabeth snorted. "Seriously, why should I care if Will is back? It's not like we've kept in touch."
"I know, but there is a party celebrating his return," Jane said.
"Of course there is. We must celebrate our long lost son of Meryton." Elizabeth snorted again and rolled her eyes. For a moment William's dark hazel eyes flashed through her head. He was sort of hot. I'll give him that, she thought to herself, but reminded herself of why she disliked him.
"You must come!"
"Really, Jane?" Elizabeth sounded bored.
"Aren't you even a bit curious to see how he turned out?" Jane teased.
"No, not really."
"Liar, liar, pants on fire."
"Oh grow up, Jane," Elizabeth sighed. She had to admit she was a bit curious what had happened to William. "Fine, when is the party?"
"Yey!" Elizabeth could picture her sister jumping up and down with a satisfied smile on her face while clapping her hands. "It's next Saturday."
William Darcy couldn't say he was happy to be back in England. At least not to be forced out on the countryside. He would much rather be in London or New York, but his father had insisted on him starting out small. When he had turned the Meryton office into a success he could move on to the London branch. He guessed his father was testing him. Twelve long years he had been gone and was now back to run the family's local office in Meryton. With him he brought his cousin Peter Fitzwilliam, along with his best friend Charles Bingley and his sister.
He remembered Meryton as a sleepy town with very little to offer its citizens. He dearly hoped the town had grown in the years he'd been gone. When he thought of what he had left twelve years ago, a pair of green eyes flashed before his hazel. Elizabeth Bennet. They had walked the thin line between love and hate ever since he greeted her to primary school by playfully tugging at her pony tails. Her green eyes had flared as she slapped him in the face.
From that day he had been fascinated by her. They had always tried to outwit the other and were constantly arguing about one thing or the other. Well, he had always considered himself being right since he was the older one, and apparently Elizabeth just had to question him. He never knew why she started to dislike him so, but from being quite good friends they had drifted apart. He found other hobbies that didn't include her, mainly other girls. Then out of the blue, on his 16th birthday party, and to him totally unmotivated, she poured a glass of punch over him and never spoke to him again unless she was forced to. And even then she made it clear she just barely tolerated his presence. He wondered if she still lived in the area. That was a friendship he wouldn't mind renewed.
William wasn't really up for the party, but he had to go seeing as he was the guest of honour. He had let his office throw the party at Lucas Lodge mainly because his friend Charles and his sister needed to be introduced into society since they didn't know anyone but himself and his cousin. Besides, it was a good way to market the company in town. All publicity was good publicity. William had to admit he was actually looking forward to see Elizabeth again and was hoping she would be at the party. Even though William used to be the life of the party back in the day, he really didn't like the attention that was now shown to him. Nowadays he kept a small but loyal circle of friends. Too many setbacks and let downs had made him cautions towards trusting strangers.
William sat in his office checking up on old friends on Facebook when there was a short knock on the door.
"Come!" he called and turned his eyes to the door, wondering who would disturb him at that late hour.
"Hey, boss," said the red head that opened the door. "Thought you might be hungry." Caroline, his secretary and also known as Charles' little sister, held a paper bag in her hand.
"I thought everyone had left," William said with a thankful smile. He was starving, he hadn't eaten since lunch and it was way past his normal dinner hour.
"Yeah, I'm on my way, but thought you might be in need of a snack." Caroline made her way over to his desk and put down the bag. William's stomach grumbled as he peered down in the bag.
"You really need a wife to take care of you. If it wasn't for me you would starve to death," Caroline said and batted her eyelashes. She had been trying to get it on with him since he started hanging out with her brother in college. But William was not interested. He had left his womanizer days behind him. There had been plenty of women, but he was happy being single. And after the last major break up he had decided that love was not for him. Hell would have to freeze over before he let a woman into his life again. His ex had turned out to be a two timing bitch with a taste for spending his money like water. William would rather not take that chance again. If William had trouble trusting men in his life, trusting women was even harder.
The whole town was buzzing with the excitement of William Darcy being back in town. Elizabeth couldn't really see what the fuss was all about. People came and went all the time without anyone throwing them parties or making them the biggest news ever.
"What are you going to wear to the party?" Jane asked a few days after the news about William Darcy's return. Elizabeth and she were having lunch.
"I don't know," Elizabeth said and sighed. Her wardrobe was in need of some serious updating. She glanced over at her sister who looked sensational as always in a beige jacket with matching skirt and white blouse. Vacantly she tried to smooth out the creases in her own brown slacks. Elizabeth didn't really care about her appearance and never had. She went for the comfortable choice when shopping.
Elizabeth and her elder sister were as different as day and night. Jane was fair with blond hair and blue eyes while Elizabeth's hair was dark brown with and her eyes green. Jane was kind and timid where as Elizabeth was known for her sharp tongue and boldness. Jane had a sweet soft temper but Elizabeth could explode within seconds. Elizabeth often wondered if they had the same parents.
"I'll take you shopping," Jane said. Seeing as how her sister had impeccable taste when it came to clothes, Elizabeth couldn't say no.
"Yeah, that would be great."
"How's Friday looking for you?" Jane said as she looked through her calendar.
"I get off at three," Elizabeth said. Even in their careers the sisters had gone in completely different directions. Jane was working as a teacher at the primary school in Meryton and Elizabeth at a computer company and was the whole family's go-to-gal when it came to support on their computers. She had surprised everybody by graduating with a degree in computer science and not English literature as would have been expected from a girl with her nose constantly lowered in a book.
"I suppose you've heard William Darcy is back," her mother said when calling her that evening.
"Yes, it's kind of hard to miss," Elizabeth sighed.
"Weren't you friends in school?"
"Not really, no," replied Elizabeth.
"Oh." Her mother sounded disappointed.
"Why?" Elizabeth knew there was something on her mother's mind.
"I just heard he's made quite the fortune for himself over there," her mother said.
"I see," Elizabeth said, starting to realise what her mother was after.
"And he's single." Elizabeth could picture her mother's face, with gleaming eyes and face reddening with excitement on the prospect of a wealthy future son in law. If there was something her mother wanted more than anything in this world it was to see her daughters married. "And he's brought a friend with him. A Charles Bingley."
"Poor chap," Elizabeth said.
"Oh, hush, Lizzie! He's apparently very well off as well."
"I am sure, hopefully William has not pestered him with his annoying habits," Elizabeth snorted.
"And what habits might that be?"
"Oh I don't know, thinking himself better than everybody else and God's gift to women?" Elizabeth bit her tongue just as the harsh words left her mouth. She had to give him the benefit of a doubt. He might very well have changed over the years, she supposed she had.
"Oh, Lizzie, why do you keep thinking ill of everybody?"
"Guilty till proven innocent?" Elizabeth tried to joke.
"It's usually the other way around," her mother remarked. "I'm sure he's a lovely young man." Elizabeth was not as sure.